By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will play their third road game in four nights on Thursday when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time). Phoenix is 1-1-0 so far on a four-game trek that concludes Saturday afternoon at Anaheim.
Tonight's game will be the 1,000th NHL game for Coyotes captain Shane Doan
(see PODCASTS below). Only one other player - Teppo Numminen - has played more than 1,000 games for the Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets franchise.
"I really appreciate being able to play my whole career with this organization,” Doan said. “I am very grateful for the fact that my family has been able to live and grow in one place.”
to read more about Doan's milestone.
Backup goalie Jason LaBarbera
will make his first start since Nov. 16. He has watched Ilya Bryzgalov
play 14 straight games and play almost all of them very well.
"It's been a long time between starts," LaBarbera said. "I don't know if I've ever had this long of a break before, but I've been working hard every day in practice and keeping a positive attitude. You know, it's easy when you haven't played for a while to kind of get discouraged or get frustrated a bit, but obviously the fact that we've been winning has made it easier for me to come to the rink every day and practice hard. It will be exciting. I'm excited."
LaBarbera's last victory came against Columbus on Oct. 28, a game in which he stopped 31 of 32 shots.
The Coyotes (20-12-2) cruised to a 6-3 victory over Toronto on Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre. Ten players had at least one point in the victory, three had two points, and defenseman Keith Yandle
and center Martin Hanzal
each had three (all assists).
The Blue Jackets (14-14-6) have lost four consecutive games and are 1-5-2 in December. In those eight games, Columbus has scored just 19 goals.
"Everyone is really getting tired of this losing stuff," Columbus goalie Steve Mason told reporters after Tuesday's loss to . "We've got to get it turned around."